Shoppers spend €2bn in last-minute festive splurge
Shoppers splashed out an estimated €2bn on last-minute Christmas presents over the weekend with brisk trade across the country.
Despite a slow November and December, retailers' tills were well and truly ringing across Ireland on Saturday and yesterday.
And it seemed male shoppers snapping up last-minute gift cards accounted for some of the biggest store sales.
Poor weather, Black Friday deals, Brexit concerns, shoppers heading to Northern Ireland and the growth of international online stores in Ireland had all caused a drop in trade recently.
But Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) said shoppers had turned out in their droves across Ireland at the weekend, helping to increase profits for all retailers.
"Saturday was probably the busiest shopping day ever," David Fitzsimons, group chief executive of REI, said.
"This was helped by clement weather nationwide, the economy at close to full employment, with everyone getting paid, and a huge amount of postponed spend from last weekend, which was a write-off.
"The only negative was car access in some towns, such as Killarney, which was a challenge due to huge volumes of shoppers.
"But every retailer I spoke to had a great weekend," he added.
Many stores had already launched cut-price sales leading up to Christmas Day with Arnotts reducing selected lines of footwear, women's clothing, accessories and homeware by up to 50pc.
Marks & Spencer is plugging up to 50pc off furniture and deals on some underwear while Brown Thomas is offering up to 40pc reductions on designer clothing and 10pc off gift sets.
While the weather had been dry and mild on Saturday, parts of the country, including the capital, had been rain sodden yesterday but the wet day failed to put shoppers off as they used the last opportunity to buy gifts.